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help memorizing notes on fretboard

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by havik180, Mar 21, 2006.

  1. havik180


    Oct 9, 2005
    SF bay area
    Well the title pretty much says it all, but I'll elaborate.

    I know that the frets are alphabetical starting with the open string ( i.e. "E"F G A BC D....) 5th fret and 12th fret rules , finding octaves and so on. This is all newly aquired knowledge and I'd like to know some of the tricks you guys might use.

    I wanna be able to have somone say "C" on the "E" string and boom know right where it is instead of counting frets.

  2. darkfish01


    Feb 11, 2005
    San Marcos, Tx
  3. I don't think there really are any "tricks." There are learning tools, but no real shortcuts. Practice.
  4. morf

    morf Banned

    Feb 17, 2006
    Thanks for that picture diagram, it'll be helpful to me :)
  5. DaftCat


    Jul 26, 2004
    Medicine Hat
  6. As was said before, you just have to play and it just kind of comes over time. One thing that really helped me was to work on playing notes in positions I'm not used to.

    Example, instead of playing my C on the 3rd fret of the A, I just made my self play it on 8th of the E. To be honest, I had to think about it just then that the C was 8th fret because normally my thought process is "well, it is that fret right there after the B" and even then I don't think of the B as the 7th fret.

    I think the "trick" to learning the fretboard is to stop thinking about all the frets as numbered and just pick up the attitude of "I can either play it here, here or here, now if i'm planning to __________, then I need to play this one so it is easier to get to where I need to be."
  7. bannedwit


    May 9, 2005
    Buffalo, NY
    I got some tricks for you that helped me learn:


    You need to buy a book like the BASS GRIMORE and rip through all the modes. Ionian, Dorian, Phrygian, Lydian, Mixolydian, Aeolian and locrian

    When you play the scale, say and/or sing the notes name. You will get a feel for moving your hand around, knowing the name of the note and where it lies on the fretboard all in on. Plus it adds a little theory in there.

    Depending on where you start the scale will determine what key you are using...
    C Ionian at the start = KEY OF C (all notes are whole notes)
    D Ionian = KEY OF D (C# and F# here)

    You must do it though, it doesnt come overnight and you can't cram for it, you just need to know this to be a better musician.
  8. A good help to learn is to say the notes as you play then so you hear what note it is when u play it and get used to it, also if you play from tabs alot doign this will help so when u see E|--8-- you think o that's C not just 8
  9. pocket_groover

    pocket_groover Supporting Member

    Jan 21, 2004
    Northern California
  10. seventhson

    seventhson Supporting Member

    Aug 12, 2005
    Seattle, WA
    Do this when you go to sleep. It's better than counting sheep. Imagine the fret board in your head and starting with the open position name the natural and sharp notes. Then go up one fret and repeat. When you hit the 12th fret, go back down, but name the notes by their natural or flat names. You can do this exercise starting on the E string or the G string. You can go up with flats, go down with sharps, etc. Invent your own variations.
  11. permadave


    Jul 20, 2004
    Atlanta, GA
    This is what I do, only with the bass in hand. I try to do it on one string per day up and down the entire fret board. It takes a while but you will get it!
  12. Jazzin'

    Jazzin' ...Bluesin' and Funkin'

    You will learn the fretboard with time. There are some tricks that are good to know, but you will find out those tricks on your own over time as well.
  13. I wrote the notes in an excel file putting the fret numbers on top of each collum and the open string notes at the beginning of each line. It's like those diagrams above actually. I don't know what I'm gonna do with it, maybe I'll try to memorize it when I'm bored or have some free time.
  14. chasfr


    Jan 4, 2005
    I think the thing that's been most helpful to me (and I'm still working on it) is to remember that the spatial relationships between notes remain the same everywhere on the fretboard. In other words, an F will always have a Bb next to it on the higher pitched string, and a C on the lower pitched string, anywhere on the board (assuming you don't run out of strings...) And Bb always has an F on the lower string and an Eb on the higher, etc., etc. As you internalize those relationships, the fretboard starts to come together in each position.

    Works for me, anyway...

    Good luck!
  15. pocket_groover

    pocket_groover Supporting Member

    Jan 21, 2004
    Northern California
    Actually, after thinking about it in addition to the drilling software I posted above what helped me the most was having to deal with chord charts and sheet music at gigs. Just the act of going throught the charts burns the note positions into your head.
  16. Timbo


    Jun 14, 2004
    Use pacmans sure fire way to memorizing scales. eg. start say e scale lowest note, it's your low E string. Now do the scale and go 1-E, then put your finger down, 2-F#, next finger, 3-g#, and so forth. The number being the scale degree and the second one being the note. continue that with all the scales and such and I promise you, you will have the entire fretboard memorized. You should even do it starting on different scale degrees. IE just saying a random scale in this instance lets just say C. Now the C scale has C D E F G A B and C. The lowest note is an E, but this time the E isn't the first degree of the scale, it's the third one, ( Phyrgian mode ). So the first note in the third mode would start E, the you could goto F instead of F# because from the 3rd scale degree to 4th is 1/2 step or one fret. So yeah do that for a couple days even if for only like 15-20 minutes and you'll have the notes down in no time, not to mention you'll know your scales 10x better.

    (sorry if the same thing/similar thing was said already)
  17. Correlli


    Apr 2, 2004
    New Zealand
    I write out the fretboard as follows.

    With Sharps
    E A D G
    F A#D#G#
    F#B E A
    G C F A#
    A D G C
    B E A D
    C F A#D#
    C#F#B E
    D G C F
    E A D G
    With Flats
    E A D G
    F BbEbAb
    GbB E A
    G C F Bb
    A D G C
    B E A D
    C F BbEb
    DbGbB E
    D G C F
    E A D G
  18. spindizzy


    Apr 12, 2004
    Ok I have to comment on this with a story. Years ago I opened for Chris Brubecks blues band (1972 or 3). Chris is Dave Brubeck's son (for those who remember Take 5 and Dave's considerable piano and compositional skills) and he had just taken up bass or just bought one from someone who had to learn on it. Anyway, on the fretboard of this great looking Rick he, or someone who shall remain nameless, had handwritten out each and every note on paper and then laquered the whole fretboard with these lettered notes underneath. Now I don't know if this is an option for you (God I hope not or you are in need of detox) but this was one person's way of learning where everything was. Most of all he apparently was using it for "on-the-job" training. :ninja:
  19. Growler


    Sep 26, 2004
    Dunno about you, but I don't have time to read where a note is on the fretboard. IT's more about already knowing where to go.. plus who uses sheet music during a gig?
  20. WillBuckingham


    Mar 30, 2005
    I do . . . and . . . e.g. James Singleton the last time I saw him play . . .

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